Cost – £39.00 (Jan 2020) (£49 for two with a voucher from buyagift.co.uk)
Parking and Access – There is some parking available at the hotel, which can be booked ahead. This is a short step from the entrance but there is a drop off point by the entrance. There are then some steps up to reception (chair lift available). Entry from the front entrance is flat. The restaurant is level access from reception. The ladies toilets had level access but quite a narrow entrance. However, the men’s toilets were up a level via a staircase. Lift access was available.
Background – We were joining another couple who had been given a voucher to have a Chocoholics Afternoon Tea at the Hilton on Park Lane in London. Luckily, we had also managed to buy a voucher from buyagift.co.uk, which meant we were paying a reduced price for this Tea.
The hotel is a huge multi-storey building situated not far from Hyde Park Corner and facing onto Hyde Park.
The Podium Restaurant where Afternoon Tea is served is situated of the main reception. It is quite a big restaurant. At the front of the room there is a slightly raised section with large windows. Unfortunately, the view is mainly of expensive cars, but the park is somewhere beyond them and the busy road outside!
Contents – Five different sandwiches, on different breads (smoked salmon with cream cheese on croissant, cucumber and cream cheese on white bread, prawns in Marie Rose sauce on brioche, pastrami with pickled red cabbage on brioche and chicken and tarragon on brioche}. Four small medium sized scones between two of us (two plain, one fruit and one chocolate chip), a small pot of strawberry jam, a small pot of caramel spread and a small pot of clotted cream. Six desserts between the two of us (raspberry savarin, chocolate and orange pillow, mango parfait, jasmine jelly parfait, pistachio sponge and an exotic tartlet. Pot of your choice of teas from a tea menu.
Options Available – There is also a children’s Afternoon Tea. The adult Tea is also available with Champagne.
Comments – There were four of us enjoying this Afternoon Tea together. We were all booked using vouchers from buyagift.co.uk.
We were shown to a table in the large restaurant, near the front window of the hotel.
The table was laid with placemats topped with a knife and fork, linen napkin, a glass and a cup and saucer with a strainer sitting on the top.
The china was pretty with a small pattern in grey, gold and blue on the white background.
We were all given menus and were offered a glass of water from a large jug which was not left on the table.
We were then asked for our choice of tea. It was explained that we could also choose a cold drink or coffee. We were allowed a refill but it had to be the same drink as the original order. We ordered three English Breakfast teas and one glass of milk.
The tea arrived in individual white teapots decorated with grey, blue and gold to match the cups and saucers we already had. The milk was already on the table in a small white matching jug. The tea was of a good strength. We all ordered a refill later on during our Tea. The tea was made with loose leaf tea.
We were then each served with an oblong shaped plate containing the savoury part of the Tea. It was nicely presented and all of the savouries looked tempting. My favourite was the chicken and tarragon on brioche. None of the items were very big but there was a nice variety of freshly made and tasty items.
Once we had finished the savouries, we were given a round cake stand between each pair. This contained the scones on one layer, with the remaining six sweet items on the top two layers. It was very well presented again, but why, why, why do places limit you to one of each item??? It is so frustrating. I would rather have less variety and two of each item. I’m sure most people would agree.
The scones were a small medium size and had been warmed up. We had a plain scone each and shared the fruit and the chocolate chip scones between us.
We quickly realised there was nowhere near enough clotted cream for four scones. So, we both had the caramel spread on the plain scone. It was not the most delicious spread I had tasted. It was rather thin and runny and really didn’t go that well with the scones. Likewise, the jam was a bit thin too. However, there was enough jam for the remaining two scones. Unfortunately, there was barely enough clotted cream for two small scones, let alone four.
The menu for the Afternoon Tea mentions seven sweet items on top of the scones. However, we were served six, as were all the other people around us. The sweets were all reasonably large, meaning it was not too difficult to cut each in half for sharing. However, I feel strongly that this should not be needed, as you will know. Everything was well flavoured and freshly made. However, it was commented on by one of our companions, that everything had basically the same mousse type texture. Unfortunately, this was not this person’s favourite texture! I was particularly not keen on the texture of the mango parfait, which was like a jellied mousse.
However, I like it’s flavour.
The two desserts on the top layer of the stand were placed on a thin slab of chocolate, which we all enjoyed!
My favourite of the desserts was the chocolate orange pillow. Although this was particularly difficult to split between us as it was covered in an incredibly sticky jelly like layer on top of the delicious mousse filling.
Service was average throughout. We were visited and checked that all was ok a couple of times but it felt like the staff were going through the motions and were just not interested. This is an expensive Afternoon Tea but it just didn’t feel like it was worth the full price of nearly eighty pounds for each couple.
At the end of our Tea, we were bought a bill, even though we had booked with vouchers. It was explained that is was for the optional service charge. It felt very much that we were expected to pay.
My final comment has to be that this Afternoon Tea is heavily advertised as a chocoholics Afternoon Tea. However, there was very little chocolate content anywhere. Just one of the four scones had chocolate chips in it, and only one of the desserts was based on chocolate. There was the thin plate of chocolate as well but this was definitely not a chocolate themed Afternoon Tea.